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Italy: apprenticeship continues to grow

Data from a 2019 monitoring report show that apprenticeship for vocational qualifications and diplomas, upper secondary education diplomas and high technical specialisation certificates (Type 1 apprenticeship) continues its growing trend in 2017 (+22%).

This increase can be attributed to legislative incentives for companies and to youth employment measures linked to VET ( Legislative Decree 81/2015, which revised the legal framework of the three apprenticeship schemes, and Inter-ministerial Decree jointly signed by education and labour ministries), which defined the training standards for apprenticeship Types 1 and 3 respectively and provided implementation criteria and tools.

In 2017, 131 445 apprentices were enrolled in publicly funded training programmes, with an increase (+22%) in Type 1 apprenticeship, representing 4.5% (5 915 apprentices) of this total. In terms of the sub-types of the Italian apprenticeship system, the vocational qualification and diploma courses have the highest number of apprentices in training (respectively 58% and 34% of the 5 915 apprentices), both with a growing trend.

Type 1 apprenticeship is formally linked to the education and training system; it is for those aged 15 to 25 and may be applied to VET programmes at upper and post-secondary levels. Type 1 contains a relevant component of formal training at school or in a training centre, which systematically alternates with in-company formal training, and a work component at the workplace. Generally, between 50% and 70% of the time is spent at school and the rest in the company.

Unlike Type 1, Type 3 apprenticeship covers only 0.4% (546 apprentices) of the total number of apprentices enrolled in public training, with a decreasing trend. Individuals aged 18 to 29 are eligible for Type 3 apprenticeship. This apprenticeship includes three sub-types: (a) apprenticeship for higher education and training, leading to university degrees, including doctorates, and higher technical institute diplomas. The mode and length of training alternation varies by the programme the scheme applies to; (b) apprenticeship for research activities, which leads to a contractual qualification outside the education and training systems; (c) apprenticeship allowing access to regulated professions (lawyers, etc.).

Type 2 or job-oriented apprenticeship, not regulated by the legal framework above, continues to be the prevalent apprenticeship scheme (95.1% with 124 984 apprentices), with a decreasing trend. It is not part of the formal VET system and leads to occupational qualifications recognised by the national sectoral collective agreement applied in the hiring company. Individuals aged 18 to 29 are eligible to enrol.

Italy started piloting a dual system in 2016.

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